Nothing causes more stress between separated couples than taking children away for the holidays.
What begins as a wonderful idea “Let’s take the kids to Disneyland this year” becomes World War III as one parent’s excitement can cause anger and frustration for the other parent.
These are things you can do to try to alleviate this:
- Plan well ahead. When will you go, where will you go and who will go on the trip.
- Make a specific itinerary.
- Share these plans with your ex-spouse several months before the trip and ask for buy-in.
- Don’t change the plan in any way. If you have to change your plans, inform your ex-spouse as soon as possible and explain the reason for the change.
- Give your children specific permission and encourage them to discuss the plans and the trip with your ex-spouse.
- Be open and flexible and try to address any concerns raised by your ex-spouse.
In general, don’t expect it to be smooth sailing. Expect emotions to be charged and do your best to understand where these emotions are coming from. Keep in mind that your children will not be happy even in Disneyland if they know there is conflict between their parents so it’s your job to try to create buy-in from your ex-spouse and to address any fears or concerns they may have.
Deborah A. Todd